If you got to this article, you probably received one of Decentral.ee’s NFC business cards. This idea surfaced during our research on how to use the blockchain for tracking physical assets, and our early prototype for a blockchain-connected tokens.
If you have one of our cards, please read on to find out how you can re-use it, and increase your productivity.
NFC (Near Field Communication) tags are small powerless chips, carrying a small amount of memory. When you swipe them with a reader (for example your phone), they power up, and send the reader the payload they contain. Yes, this is how contactless credit cards work!
Basic Tools you will need
First of all, an Android Phone. While Apple has included NFC readers in their latest terminals, NFC writing capabilities aren’t available yet.
On Android, enabling NFC is easy; go to settings and search for the NFC toggle. Off the bat, any phone should be able to read simple messages (if they are encoded properly) and execute them directly. This is how we encoded the business cards, with a simple URL to our website.
For this kind of encoding you will need an NFC toolkit. I have been using the free version of “NFC TOOLS” so far, and have encountered no issues.
You can, however, encode any custom data onto the tags. You will, however, need a specialized app to execute these commands. For this you can use the same app, or a more specific one called “Trigger”.
With Trigger you can automate your android device to execute tasks based on different situations. For example changing your phone’s volume or screen brightness, toggling wifi, bluetooth, airplane mode, set alarms, etc.
10 Creative ways to use NFC tags
- Use them as physical bookmarks to your favourite websites. By doing this, to open this website you will only need to touch the tag with your phone. Always look up a recipe when you are in the kitchen? Stick the link on an NFC tag, and just swipe it
- Check the balance of your cold wallets without connecting them to your computer, by creating a link to your desired address on a block explorer like https://etherscan.io/. With this trick you can also monitor any dApp, ICO contract, or pending payments!
- Do you accept Bitcoin in your business? Encode frequent payments inti the NFC tag! This kind of link would look something like this: “bitcoin:3HyqfY4y6Yj581s4o1xYmMjsi5Rr6aNKVA?amount=0.5&message=Donation&label=Satoshi”
- You can actually use a similar trick with Ethereum payments, but the encoding is a bit more complex, with support for smart contracts and ERC-20 token transfers. For more details check the EIP-681 standard
- NFC tags can also call other URIs, for example phone numbers, “tel:0037258848585” or email addresses “mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org?subject=Great guide!&body=NFC is great!”
- Stick an NFC tag on your calendar and remember to send SMS birthday wishes! “sms:333somenumber333?body=Some guy from Estonia helped me remember your birthday”
- Encode your WiFi SSID and Keys, and allow guests to use your wifi just by swiping their phone
- Stick it on your car, where you usually put your phone, and have it open Navigation app, as well as turn on bluetooth and location services using Trigger
- Always on the road and often use mobile hotspot? Use the Trigger app to program an NFC tag so that it turns on when you touch your laptop with your phone!
- Want to access the Decentral.ee website on a daily basis? Keep the tag as it is, and be sure to drop us a line to get in touch